With freshmen student orientation beginning this upcoming Monday, June 10, faculty at East Carolina University are reaching out to offer advice to incoming first-year students and helping to prepare them for college life.
According to ECU’s website, incoming undergraduates enrolled in the upcoming fall semester are required to attend one of 10 orientation sessions offered during the summer.
Mary Beth Corbin, executive director of student transitions at ECU, said the dates for the orientation sessions are June 10-11, June 12-13, June 17-18, June 19-20, June 24-25, June 26-27, July 1-2, July 8-9, July 10-11, and July 15-16.
Corbin said orientation sessions will cover getting involved on campus, living with a roommate, meeting academic advisors, learning about majors and adjusting to college life.
“Orientation is really about the whole student,” Corbin said. “How to transition successfully to ECU and how to connect with your campus.”
Corbin said students will be introduced to a welcoming environment when transitioning to ECU, which is similar to previous years.
“From our chancellor to our faculty to our groundspeople, our housekeepers, we all do what we can to help students be successful,” Corbin said.
There will be a few differences in this year’s orientation festivities compared to years in the past, according to Corbin. Pirate Palooza, a welcome event for returning and new students, will be held in the new Main Campus Student Center, rather than at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium. She said there will also be a first-year photo opportunity on the football field after convocation.
Corbin said, with college being so different from high school, the best advice she can offer to incoming freshmen is to get to know faculty by going to their office hours and to take advantage of the Pirate Academic Success Center (PASC) to help with grades.
Corrinn Schwabrow, assistant director of Student Transitions at ECU, said orientation days this year will be a day and a half long rather than two full days, based on assessment data received from parents and families wanting a more condensed version of orientation.
“We’re really focused on what they need at that particular time,” said Schwabrow. “So we’re trying not to overwhelm them.”
The school’s main focus is to provide students with the information they need to get from this summer to the beginning of the school year in August, rather than overwhelming them with everything they need to know over the next four years, according to Schwabrow.
Schwabrow said ECU gives students the opportunity to meet with fellow freshmen at orientation so they can start forming new relationships and friendships, while additionally connecting with orientation assistants.
“They spend a lot of time with orientation assistants,” Schwabrow said. “They’ll get to connect with advisors, some faculty and staff and ask questions.”
Orientation assistants will meet with students during small group meetings for a couple of hours during orientation, with one to two orientation assistants per 20 students, according to Schwabrow.
Schwabrow said her advice, based on what students she has worked with previously have said and her own personal experiences, is to remember to breathe and take the opportunity to explore.
“Find clubs that sound interesting, and go to meetings or contact someone and check it out and see if that’s something you’re interested in,” Schwabrow said.
Schwabrow said another way to try new things when entering college is to take a few classes that may not be required for your major, but that count towards graduation to see if those courses are something you’re interested in.
Schwabrow said she once had a student who never said no to any opportunity to explore, whether it be trying a new restaurant, listening to a new band or going to a new bar.
“That way she felt like at least she was giving it a shot and then if she didn’t like it she was able to say she tried and move on,” Schwabrow said. “I always thought that was a great attitude to have and great advice to give to other people.”
Tae Dooley, who graduated from ECU in spring 2019 with a degree in elementary education, said college is the best time to learn new lessons and experience new things.
“This is the time when you get to experiment and try all new things that you’ve never experienced before,” Dooley said. “Take advantage of that.”